Red Tails conduct joint air integration exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kelly Goonan
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing conducted a joint air integration exercise alongside partner nation Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, July 6. 
During this training exercise, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and partner nation combat controllers coordinated with F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 332nd AEW and conducted Close Air Support 9-Lines with target correlation resulting in live-ordnance deliveries in a dynamic environment on an air-to-ground bombing range. 
“Integration exercises like these build mission-essential proficiencies when working with our coalition partners,” said Col. David Och, 332nd AEW Intelligence, Operations, and Plans director. 
The F-15E is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with an array of avionics and electronics. The Strike Eagle has been deployed for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya, among others. During these operations, the Strike Eagle has carried out air strikes against high-value targets and combat air patrols, and provided close air support for coalition troops. 

“These fighter aircraft regularly work with partner nation ground controllers around the Middle East making our ability to conduct regular exercises critical to joint training,” Och said. 
A JTAC is a qualified military service member who, from a forward position, directs the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations. U.S. Air Force JTACs evolved from “forward air controllers” whose guidance in combat operations tipped the scales in battles from World War II through Vietnam. Their job is to keep track of all aircraft available in the area they are sent into while supporting any ground maneuver force to which they are attached. 
“This training provided a unique opportunity to rehearse tactics and procedures that are universally employed across coalition forces,” Och explained. 
The 332nd AEW has a wide array of combat Air Force capabilities including precision strike, aerial refueling, combat search and rescue, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The wing’s warfighters, which generate, execute and sustain combat airpower in support of U.S. Air Forces Central and U.S. Central Command to commanders, seize combat initiative by, with, and through mission partners – building on the Red Tails’ legacy of excellence.